Trust~This Is Where The Healing Begins {Join Us Again At #TheLoft Link-Up}

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As I approached the house, the dense stench of cigarette smoke hit me like that gust of wind on the forefront of a storm that has more-than-once turned my patio umbrella inside out. The smell nearly gagged me- it was so potent.

I was on a mission. Our church had a call from a woman who was cut off from her home, renting a place of her own, she had nothing but discount beds with no bedding. And her clothes.

I whispered a prayer. “Help me Lord.” Image-1 (3)

Her heart and head and body plagued with brokenness, 42 years old with a collection of bad choices by herself and others in her past. Unable to work. We had gathered love-gifts, and I was delivering.

A man helped me carry the things in, about the same age as the woman, he was well-built and had a certain tenderness in his eyes. Boyfriend of a friend…I found out another day he was not tender as he appeared. Two days after I met him, he was in jail. {I trust as an answer to prayer since I learned he had threatened bodily harm to one of the women. I pray he will meet the One who loves his soul}

I leaned in to listen with questions, and concern. She was obviously desiring her home to be ‘better looking’ in apologizing for the state of the carpet, but was grateful and hopeful in sharing what she would like to do there. Her voice- twenty years older than her age, her body was gaunt; frail-looking. She told me her best friend, she found homeless, was now living there too. So she called her name, but no answer. Several times. Still no answer. Peeked inside her bedroom door and it was empty. Walked to the back of the house and came back, “She will be out soon”.

Ten years younger, her friend’s story is even more painful to hear. Her life riddled with death of loved ones to suicide and disease and laden with abuse and mental illness in her family of origin. And she herself-struggling with a backlash of agoraphobia from her losses. One story after another created a knot deep in my gut. My heart was heavy as I sat on the arm of the sofa with my hand on her shoulder. Tears stifled.

I embraced her with both arms and prayed for Jesus to make Himself known, to restore to her what the enemy-thief has stolen. Tears flowed. {John 10:10}

I prayed for protection, for healing and for transformation. I prayed for hope. I prayed for salvation.

She told me she had prayed the day before. She didn’t know how to pray but she just said something like, “Help me Jesus.” And here I was. Jesus with skin on. {But Jesus, please show me HOW to help her! ~and~ I can do all things through You.}

“How do you know Jesus?” I asked.

“He was with me when I was a little girl taking care of my mom and sister. He never once left me.”

I’m speechless trying to wrap my mind around her reality. A sharp contrast to mine.

She wants her own children back. All three have different fathers and in the care of others since the suicide of her boyfriend two and a half years ago.

I left that day with that smoke-smell in my hair…wondering ‘how many?’ How many people are living below real living? Not really living but merely surviving life? And right around the corner? The USA is a mission field. I don’t need to go to Haiti. {something I have wanted to do} Here are needs as deep and disturbing as any across the sea. Here we need Jesus to do His mighty miracles of delivering, healing, restoring and binding up wounds. I trust the fragrance of  Christ that I brought to their house remained with them…

As I think over the tangled messes that sin has left in their life-and restoration? It feels impossible. But God. I know Him. I know what He has done in my life. In others’ lives. With Him all things are possible. I pray for God’s grace to pour out, for the resurrection power of Jesus to break the chains of deception and destruction and to lift these ladies to their feet from ashes. And all the others from broken homes. All the school children who go home every day not to a place of refuge, but of pain and disfunction. We know they are there.

They need us who know the source of Life. They need us to intercede for them, pray and ask for opportunities to sow blessings into their lives. To offer hope. Offer grace. Lets hold together to hope that our communities will be healed by the power of Jesus!

Jesus, please rescue and heal them! The power of the truth of your mighty love will set them free as it has for me. You are amazing… Show your power Lord!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

This is a repost from February 2013. Since I met the people in the story, I lost track of one who was heavily involved in drugs, deception and criminal activity, the man was jailed for drug related charges. I’ve been able to maintain contact with the other woman and I’m happy to report that I’ve seen God work powerfully in her life. She was raped a year after I met her and after having many pressure her to abort, she refused and now has a beautiful little girl. Our contact has been sporadic due to the transitions in my own life limiting me, but I am excited to report that she and her little girl seem to be thriving and she seems to be trusting the Lord increasingly. (Although still surrounded by lost, broken people and circumstances) She has also had restoration with her middle son. And occasional contact with her youngest son. Please pray for continued healing and growth in her relationship with Jesus.

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  1. I actually think we should all have a sign over the entrance of our house, on the inside: ‘You are now entering the mission field.’ But come to think of it, we need it going both ways, because we are also to be ministering to those who live under our roof. The world is a bad neighborhood and no matter where, filled with broken humanity. I’m glad to hear that the other woman is doing better. Praise God!

    • Kathy Schwanke

      Love that. Yes! Or a sign, “You are LOVED by God whether you believe it or not…and if you do… HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT, you are going for the ride of your life!!!” 🙂 🙂

  2. What a powerful blog post – you are right; there is a mission field right where we are, and never too far away. I have heard that they are sending missionaries from Africa to the UK now. The Lord is faithful and let’s trust in Him that he will continue to lead us to people that need us, right where we are. 🙂 God bless!

    • Kathy Schwanke

      Thank you Ruth!
      I know of a Chinese couple who are missionaries in America. . . When I heard, I marveled at how things have changed. We were once the sending country. And now we are a needy country. But we have many within that simply need to know WHO they are and THEIR CALLING to be a blessing and bearer of Good News!!!

  3. Imagine this….behind every one of those women is a mom. Maybe behind that truth is a praying mom and your visit was an answer to prayer…even prayers made from the womb.

  4. Kathy, what a beautiful, heart-rending story. You truly were the hands and feet of Jesus as you trusted Him to speak and love through you. Only eternity will reveal the how much your presence on that day changed the lives of the woman and those around her. Thank you so much for sharing this story!

  5. What a powerful post – yes, the needs are so real here, although I’d love to go to Haiti someday, too. When we ask God to open our eyes, sometimes what we see is so overwhelming. BUT God! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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